The lower part of Valletta is experiencing a breath of fresh air as the Old Abattoir has been transformed into the Valletta Design Cluster, a new creative and cultural space dedicated to design in the capital, under the Valletta Cultural Agency’s helm.
This space will now serve as a home to all creatives and organisations working on making a positive social impact on our community.
The Valletta Design Cluster was officially inaugurated today by the Hon. Prime Minister Robert Abela, accompanied by the Hon. José Herrera, Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts, and Local Government, the Hon. Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds, Jason Micallef, the Valletta Cultural Agency’s Chairperson, and Catherine Tabone, the Agency’s CEO.
The Valletta Design Cluster opens up new opportunities for creatives working in the field of design to take their projects to the next level. Users can access tools, equipment and spaces to learn, share their knowledge, and take their organisations forward. Whether still a student or an established practitioner, these new facilities are available to assist design-related organisations to fulfil their aspirations.
Over and above the creation of a new concept for Malta, this project led to the regeneration of yet another zone in Valletta for the local community. The Old Abattoir had been left in a state of neglect for over 50 years. It has now been restored through an investment of 10.4 million Euro, thanks in part to the European Regional Development Funds.
Spread over 3,212 square metres, the Cluster offers 15 studios; tools and machines for prototyping; two international project labs; a conference hall; and a food space, including a nine-station training kitchen, among other areas. One also finds an original functional oven dating back to when the building served the Diu Balli community, one of the remaining two ovens from the original eight.
The Old Abattoir today serves as a bridge between Valletta’s 450-year-old history and its future.
The Cluster prioritises entrepreneurship, social impact projects, and user-focused design, enabling innovation and a positive impact on everyday life. The facility is accessible to everyone wishing to share their knowledge, residents and workers in the Old Abattoir area, designers and artists, entrepreneurs and students.
The Cluster addresses a lacuna identified within the Creative Economy Strategy, namely, the sharing of resources and aid to emerging and developing companies and creatives.
The Valletta Design Cluster also introduces a first-of-its-kind public garden in the capital through its roof garden. Designed by the Japanese company Tetsuo Kondo Architects, this roof garden includes a meeting room, two multi-functional spaces, a space for small groups, and various trees and plants, most of which are endemic.
The Valletta Design Cluster will be the place where people – and ideas – meet. As a Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture legacy project, it builds on the commitment to lessen the divide between the upper and lower areas of Valletta, to transform it into a centre of excellence.
The opening of this unique space for artists and creatives in Malta is particularly significant in such a difficult time for the sector and society as a whole, and demonstrates Government’s commitment towards the arts and culture.
The Valletta Design Cluster is now open daily from 8am to 6pm.
The Membership Scheme is also open. Interested persons, entities, and organisations are invited to visitvca.gov.mt for more information